Back in 2010, Florida Gov. Rick Scott made a big deal about adopting a rescue dog and, thanks to a campaign on Facebook, named the Labrador Retriever Reagan. How very cul-de-sac of him. But apparently things didn’t work out so well.
The last time Reagan made the newspapers was the day before Scott was sworn in as governor in January 2011. John Kennedy, then a reporter for the News Service of Florida, reported seeing the governor-elect walking Reagan in Tallahassee.
Asked last week what had happened to the dog, Scott’s current and former communications directors refused to answer.
On Monday, the Times asked the governor to clear up the mystery.
“He was a rescue dog,” Scott said, “and he couldn’t be around anybody that was carrying anything, and so he wouldn’t get better.”
Scott said Reagan never bit anyone but “scared the living daylights” out of people at the mansion. He said one kitchen employee threatened to quit and photographer Eric Tournay was frightened when the dog “barked like crazy” every time he saw him with a camera.
So the Scotts gave the dog back to his prior owner, Scott said, about a month after the family moved to Tallahassee. The governor’s office on Monday told the Times it was trying to find Reagan and its new family.
There are a lot of things to consider when taking in a rescue dog. First among them is getting to know the dog; a lot of them come from abusive situations, and they may have behavioral problems that are ingrained, which makes it hard to adjust to a new home and environment. So you don’t just go and pick out the cutest dog and take him or her in; you need to spend time getting to know each other and learning what might be roadblocks to a happy life together.
It’s pretty clear that the Scotts didn’t really take any of that into consideration when they adopted Reagan, even though they say they’ve had rescue dogs before. And it’s really not a good idea to exploit the adoption for political purposes. Those kind of things can come back to bite you in the ass.